How Much Does the 40-Yard Dash Impact Draft Stock?

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Griffin_Shaquem” by Student Sports is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Jesse Langmacher

The NFL Combine is in full swing now. Today marked the fourth day of live coverage. Watching the feed, I decided to find out just how much this event has effected draft stock recently. I also believe that there are players that will rise in this year’s draft due to 40 times alone.

I recently watched Donte Jackson’s press conference where he said John Ross “should be worried” about his record time being beat. Jackson went on to run through a muscle cramp and clock at 4.32. He was previously projected as a first round pick. At the time of writing this he finished his second run at 4.37. Both great times, but not quite fast enough to make John Ross sweat about his record being broken. Donte still most likely boosted his draft stock and could go somewhere in the middle of the draft’s first round.

Ross was thought to be one of the best wide receivers in the 2017 draft. He was picked No. 9 overall. He was the third wideout picked in the first ten selections. Although a lot of the talk has been on the track stars running, there are more intriguing options as well.

Denzel Ward from Ohio State just ran a 4.32 and a 4.36. He has been projected as a first round pick and to this point is being thought of as a top cornerback in this class. He is a physical coverage corner compared by analysts to Marcus Peters who was just traded from KC to the Los Angeles Rams.

The most talked about player in the combine as of now seems to be Shaquem Griffin. His first attempt at the 40 happened to be the fastest for a linebacker in twelve years. He is more the topic of discussion because he has played football at a high level with one hand. His play at the next level is already being questioned for this reason, even with his film at the college level against great competition and putting amazing highlights on film. He has all the intangibles and film to be a high draft selection. He deserves to go in the first round and it’ll be one of the biggest stories of the 2018 draft.

Given all of the previous evidence that the 40 yard dash has a big impact on how high a player goes in the draft, I find it hard to believe it won’t be the same this year. I would be surprised if Donte Jackson, Denzel Ward and Shaquem Griffin don’t all make it inside the first round. This year’s class will be an intriguing one and will be closely watched by millions I’m sure. I for one will be tuned in when the 2018 NFL draft starts on April 27th.

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